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Specialist books aimed at teachers and other professionals in education.
Every year, an increasing number of children enter the Early Years setting either new to English or with English as an additional language (EAL), which can be daunting, not just for the child but for the practitioner too. How can Early Years practitioners ensure that the right support is in place for the child and themselves? What practical ideas can be used successfully to enrich an EAL child's understanding of a new language, while, at the same time, allowing that child to bond with their peers? 50 Fantastic Ideas for Children with EAL is an invaluable resource to help integrate children with EAL into the classroom with fresh, exciting and engaging activities that are easy to resource, require little preparation and are fun to carry out. The activities include simple speak-and-repeat games, visual ideas to support learning new words and phrases and activities that evoke feelings of being at home, allowing the children to feel welcomed and part of the school's diverse community. Traditional games are also featured to help children with EAL play with their peers, as well as feel that they can contribute to the learning of others. Perfect for promoting inclusion and self-esteem, 50 Fantastic Ideas for Children with EAL is ideal for supporting children as they navigate the ups and downs of having English as an additional language.
A new approach to behaviour management | A book packed with sound advice and made more relevant because the writers are teachers and have put their advice into action. Evidence based practice is always the best. There are so many useful phrases and practical tips and quotes. Phrases like ‘never leave a child with no where to go, behaviourally or educationally’, or ‘a burnt-out teacher cannot foster positive relationships’ and the ‘importance of personal space’ are particularly memorable examples. The style is informal and chatty and clearly laid out. I like the key ‘learning point’ boxes at the end of each chapter and the interesting examples of successes had with previous pupils. On occasions however, the examples are a little too lengthy and a little too personal. Whilst not prudish in any way, I did not think the swear words added much to the narrative or the over personalisation of ‘Steve’ or ‘Mick’ in the chapter overviews. Whilst I respected the scientific research that had gone into the reasons behind why children behave as they do, I think it would be fair to say that most educators want solutions and answers. Not because they do not care or are not interested in the science, but because they just do not have the time. For me, the interesting chapters were those that provided solutions to situations and offered practical help to real life scenarios. There were certainly many useful, thought provoking messages and theories throughout the book that we can all learn from.
Over 70 fun activities for children | I wish this book had been produced when I first started teaching, I would have loved all the different ideas and the clear and interesting way the pages are laid out. As an experienced teacher, however, I found that many of the ideas, story starters and writing suggestions a little predictable. Nonetheless, the ideas/brainstorming pages were brilliantly written with some super ideas to inspire, such as the A-Z of character traits, the use of a dice to choose settings for a story and the work on genres and choosing better words. It is a very accessible book and I would definitely use many of the ideas included. As with any activity book, it is one to dip in and out of rather than follow religiously, but is certainly idea provoking and very accessible to both teacher and child. Its accessibility and clear concise instructions would also lend itself well to the parent who wants to work on some writing tasks at home, or for a keen, creative child who wants some extension tasks or a fun writing task to work on independently. A fun and well-constructed workbook that I am sure will prove a popular resource.
The author, an acclaimed headteacher, author and international speaker, talks a lot about empowerment and this inspiring read should empower teachers, governors and parents to have the confidence to resist a data and results-driven efficiency agenda from usurping the true function of education. As he says “The human race has not evolved and developed through history because of a focus on efficiency; it has evolved because of our natural-born curiosity and our desire to learn, to challenge, to innovate and to be better”. The 2013 OECD “Skills Outlook” report which he references emphasises that education has to fit young people for a rapidly changing future. He is emphatically child-centred and believes that empowerment extends to them as well. A successful school works in partnership with learners and with the external community it serves but is, in and of itself, a collaborative learning community too. His mantra is “systems and structures change nothing; people do” A school can only be as good as its teachers and for both teachers and students it has to provide trust, security and a common purpose. His thoughtful analysis of what and why change is needed, with examples learned beyond education will provide a sustaining boost to morale for any teacher struggling in difficult circumstances and a timely reminder to those in charge to raise their heads above the parapet and stand up for the future of learning. This valuable read is not a practical how-to guide at all, nor an angry polemic, but rather a genuinely heartfelt plea to put purpose and people over structures and tests. He successfully advocates Ghandi’s challenge: “Be the change you want to be”
Action Jackson's guide to motivating learners | This book has a really, important basic message that happy children will learn and be successful. It is packed with useful tips, interesting, stories and anecdotes. However, I feel what lets it down from the start is the cover which to me, paints the wrong picture and conjures up a cartoon style of children’s book. I am sure the colour and font are designed to complement the word ‘happy’, but does this work? On a positive note, it is a very readable book, clearly laid out with some very helpful classroom tips. I particularly like the use of the acrostic technique of delivering messages, BIDMAS and READY on pages 113 and 117,being two great examples that would work as display material in the classroom. The messages he delivers is so important, ‘make education relevant’, ‘embrace negativity’ and ‘don’t limit your challenges’ being particularly good examples. It is important to inspire and encourage. However, the British as a nation can be quite reticent and conservative, and to an extent negative about themselves. I think chapters headed ‘you are amazing’ and ‘be in your zone of impact’ might be a little bit much for many staffrooms and deemed a little too ‘American’. I would say most of us would agree the sentiments and vision behind the book, we just need it delivered in a slightly less cliched and less patronising fashion.
How to Tackle the Top Ten Issues in UK Classrooms | A very comprehensive and informative book and so obviously written by a teacher. It is neither overwhelming nor patronising, but an honest approach and observation on the workload and approach of teachers today. He demonstrates a true understanding of the pressures we are all under. It is well laid out with the top ten issues in classrooms clearly tackled. In the foreword, Morrison McGill suggests it is possible to dip in and out of the book, to the chapters relevant to you at the time, but I found this quite difficult. I think the book is better read as a whole (even if we are all time poor!) As I read through the book it was full of so many truths and made me remember practices I knew and features we should all apply in our day to day practice, but can so easily overlook or forget as we get embroiled in the day to day subject teaching. It made me rethink certain things like the value of homework, the effects of exclusion and how we tend to make assumptions on what a student actually knows and understands. The brief checklists on how to recognise dyscalculia and other SEND issues were clear and well laid out, as were the references to the case studies and the relevant quotes along the way. As a book to make us re-evaluate how we approach or recognise things, it is a valuable tool, it really makes you think. However, as a guide, I find it too wordy to dip into. I don’t think the information is bite sized as stated. The language is straight forward and honest and easy and interesting to read. Definitely a book for the staff room table. His quote on page 222, for me, summarises the whole purpose of the book and should be a mantra for us all – “Teachers simply need the time and space to teach with simplicity and passion, to collaborate and develop.”
The case for ethical leadership in schools | Being neither a Head nor an aspiring leader, I was initially wary of reviewing this book. But being married to an ex-head I thought it would be interesting to view someone else’s viewpoint and perspective. Oddly enough, the more I read, the more I realised that what she had to say applied to all of us. Her approach to leadership and her belief in people and the importance of a calm and caring team are values applicable to any workplace. The book is set out in a clear and informative style, easily accessible due to the overview, the subheadings and the questions raised at the end of each chapter. She manages to get her points across in a non-patronising, honest and thoughtful way. What she says is both sensible and achievable. She recognises the various leadership styles and makes no secret of the loneliness and often overwhelmingly difficult task headship can be. The impact of poverty and lack of funding is delivered without laying blame. Her approach throughout is to make life easier for everyone, Heads, staff, parents and children. She is not waving a magic wand or trying to reinvent the wheel, simply to ask the questions. Her approach is neither radical or revolutionary and that is what makes it work, makes it achievable. I think everyone could take something from this book. She is certainly a Head I would be happy to work for.
Storytelling in Early Childhood is a captivating book which explores the multiple dimensions of storytelling and story acting and shows how they enrich language and literacy learning in the early years. Foregrounding the power of children's own stories in the early and primary years, it provides evidence that storytelling and story acting, a pedagogic approach first developed by Vivian Gussin Paley, affords rich opportunities to foster learning within a play-based and language-rich curriculum.
Using the science of learning to transform classroom practice | For anyone who likes scientific evidence and research to support why we teach in the way we do, or why we should change our approach, this is their perfect book. Each chapter is supported by laboratory tests, field work and educational studies combined with a wealth of incredibly, comprehensive support material. Teachers are constantly being challenged as to their approach to delivery and very often it appears as if we are being asked to reinvent the wheel for the sake of it. As Tait says in his introduction, ‘would you go to a hospital and be told by your surgeon that he is going try out a new medical procedure?' In the same way, teachers need to see evidence and proof of success. This book certainly goes a long way in providing this. The aim of the book, according to the author, is to provide an accessible, concise overview of the main research that underpins how we learn, which it certainly does. The book is divided into 10 chapters, each covering one significant topic in detail. The author does say the book can be read cover to cover or dipped in and out of. I would say this is quite hard to do as there is so much information and so many examples and ideas within each topic. However, the way the chapters are laid out do make this possible. The teaching tip for each topic, the key quotes in bold, combined with the introductory paragraph at the start does make the book more accessible for the time poor. An interesting addition to staff inset sessions and the staffroom bookshelf.
Understanding and teaching primary grammar | As an English teacher, I am always on the lookout for a useful grammar book that I can dip in and out of, one where I can quickly check a query or confirm an idea. As the authors comment in the introduction, ‘Good grammar is often that which eliminates confusion or ambiguity’. It is so easy to think you know how something should be written and instinct often tells you where to put a comma, but it is not always easy to justify or explain. You have a feeling but cannot necessarily explain why something is what it is, which is not useful in the classroom. This book is very good at removing the myth, simplifying the rules, and clarifying things without patronising. The book is laid out very clearly, with a comprehensive glossary, useful references and a clear table explaining what grammar should be taught to what year group. Each area of grammar is clearly explained with appropriate exercises, examples, useful references, fun activities, and links to online support material. I put the glossary to the test to see if my theoretical questions could be answered and was rewarded with helpful answers on each occasion. It is a very user-friendly book and one I suspect I will regularly be dipping into. As teachers, you want reliable resources, easily available, which this certainly delivers. It is clear the book was written by teachers for teachers and is all the better for it.
For those educators already teaching Forest School, it is packed with ideas and clever links to the curriculum, but it is also a perfect start for those venturing outdoors for the first time. It provides a well-structured scheme of work that is clear and undaunting. I think many of us are wary of outdoor educating for fear that we are not covering the curriculum adequately, or adhering to health and safety regulations sufficiently, but all that is done for you, it's brilliant. The book is ideal for those who want the entire curriculum prepared for them, but it is also set out in such a way that you can dip in and out, or add some ideas to existing plans. The book is worded in a very accessible way, relevant and progressive. It is very easy to use and includes all the plans, resources and considerations for each lesson, the entire curriculum is covered for both years 1&2, with ideas for whole class groups, paired and individual activities. This makes it ideal for any educational scenario, whether your school is embracing the entire concept or only running forest school as a voluntary club. I have already passed on the title to colleagues teaching outdoors and I know it will prove incredibly popular.
Teaching outside the classroom improves pupils' engagement with learning as well as their health and wellbeing, but how can teachers link curriculum objectives effectively with enjoyable and motivating outdoor learning in Year 3? The National Curriculum Outdoors: Year 3 presents a series of photocopiable lesson plans that address each primary curriculum subject, whilst enriching pupils with the benefits of learning in the natural environment. Outdoor learning experts Sue Waite, Michelle Roberts and Deborah Lambert provide inspiration for primary teachers to use outdoor contexts as part of their everyday teaching and showcase how headteachers can embed curriculum teaching outside throughout the school, whilst protecting teaching time and maintaining high-quality teaching and performance standards. All of the Year 3 curriculum lessons have been tried and tested successfully in schools and can be adapted and developed for school grounds and local natural environments. What's more, each scheme of work in this all-encompassing handbook includes primary curriculum objectives; intended learning outcomes; warm-up and main activities; plenary guidance; natural connections; ICT and PSHE links; and word banks.